SNF

There’s a lot of talk on the blog these days about Schultz, Nikitin and Ference. The trio are often thrown into a pile and at some point have become interchangeable in conversation. Is that fair? Let’s go to the Vollman.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

vollman oilers blue 1415

Here were see Schultz getting a massive zone start push and his bubble is blue and healthy. For me, the issue in regard to him was threefold one year ago:

  • The TOI was overwhelming. I do believe the amount of time he played impact his effectiveness.
  • Oscar Klefbom helped the pairing but it took a significant piece away from a defensive pairing.
  • The actual production was less than ample. Travis Yost did a fine job looking at the issue (and others) here.

The Yost piece highlights the issue our eyes often see with Schultz—he’s often out of position, going the wrong way, or both. It’s galling. It’s not the biggest problem on the team and I do think it’s a bit unfair to include Schultz in with Andrew Ference and Nikita Nikitin.

In terms of being voted off the island, one suspects the white board in Chiarelli’s office goes:

  1. Andrew Ference (very likely to be bought out next summer)
  2. Niki Nikitin (very likely to be showcased)
  3. Justin Schultz (talented but flawed, may be facing last chance Texaco)

I’m absolutely fine with you arguing another order, but suggest you pack a lunch because it’s going to take awhile to argue your way out of the Vollman.

  • Rob Vollman on the Oilers defense (after the assumed first pair of Sekera and Fayne): The one shining light is Oscar Klefbom, who proved he is ready for a top-four assignment, by guiding the defensively suspect Justin Schultz to a respectable season.

For me, that’s the big issue. I think there’s every chance Todd McLellan will use Oscar Klefbom on the second pairing with Eric Gryba or someone he has his eye on who may shake loose in pre-season. McLellan’s job will be to find a replacement for Klefbom on the Schultz pairing—difficult, but possible.

I think we’re looking at something else again with Andrew Ference and also believe Nikita Nikitin’s time-on-ice in Edmonton opening night through the trade deadline will be devoted to showcasing him and getting the veteran settled in a new NHL city.

Right?

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32 Responses to "SNF"

  1. Ryan says:

    The concern with this trio is this up coming season. It sounds like you see Jultz on the third pairing with Nikitin–and Ference as the 7d?

    I could live with one season of Nikitin Jultz third pair if we find another d and see Ference sit most of the time. Then buyout Ference next summer…

    The problem is if all three play on a regular basis… Be afraid… Be very afraid…

  2. AsiaOil says:

    No issues with your list or the rankings of SNF – but here’s the rub. Shultz should not need this degree of sheltering given his age and neither should N&F given their salaries. Damn galling to be paying almost $12 million for your 5-6-7 dmen. That is a HUGE problem and it hobbles the GM. Thank the lord that all but $1.5 million can be off the books by next summer if they buy out Ference.

    No evidence to suggest that Ference is anything but done, but it sure would help if Nikitin could cover at least 75% of his salary and be able to play in the top 4 to give Nurse and GR some time. The problem with Shultz is that even if he “gets better” – he will never be well rounded enough to cover his salary given the starting points determined by previous contracts given to him by the old mgmt group. We do not need Andy Delmore 2.0. So in my mind – even if he does pretty well this coming season – he’s trade bait as soon as someone offers up anything of value. We will be able to spend his cap room on another (better) player. So the last Texaco is already gone IMHO and we are simply looking for an opportunity to get some value in return.

    My main worry is that we lose Davidson because of the SNF contracts. He’s way more important than would seem obvious because will will desperately need good, cheap calm feet on the bottom pair as soon as next year – and the kid has already begun to mentor more gifted but chaotic dmen in the AHL. If N&F do not look good I would certainly put them on waivers before Davidson as he is a perfect #7 guy right now and should be a cheap, steady #5/6 in a year.

  3. godot10 says:

    Showcasing Nikitin, if he plays the way he played last season, is stupid. It is not worth trying to get anything in return except someone to take on half of his salary. Injuries will happen. Somebody will take him at half price even if he is showcased in Bakersfield. Don’t throw away two seasons on a horrible bet.

    The future is Reinhart and Nurse. Break in Reinhart this year, and Nurse after Christmas or next year.

    Or else one is throwing away two seasons of McDavid’s entry level wasting this season on Nikitin and Ference, and breaking in two rookies next year in Reinhart and Nurse.

    Five vets and one rookie this year. Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Schultz, Gryba AND Reinhart

    And five vets and one rookie next years Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom, Reinhart, (Schultz and/or Gryba) AND Nurse.

  4. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Ryan: Be very afraid…

    My nerves would be very… ah… frayed.

  5. Doug McLachlan says:

    Perhaps the best partner for Schultz is Sekera?

  6. leadfarmer says:

    Nikitin doesn’t need showcasing. Two bad seasons in a row now. No one is going to give up much for him even if he has a bounce back year. He should be very motivated at least coming into this season cause he may not get a job again.

    Unfortunately I think Ference is regarded higher by management than on the inter webs.

  7. Genjutsu says:

    Training camp should give us the answers we are looking for as what the depth chart really is on merit.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what Chia does. At least there are real options in case of injuries. Guys that look like they should have a shot on merit that look like they belong.

  8. Spydyr says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    Perhaps the best partner for Schultz is Sekera?

    IMO the best partner for Schultz plays in another City

  9. Магия 10 says:

    Forget who coined it but I quite like NSF.

  10. Ryan says:

    Магия 10:
    Forget who coined it but I quite like NSF.

    I honestly think it’s me, but I could be proven wrong.

  11. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Магия 10:
    Forget who coined it but I quite like NSF.

    It’s very clever, but too close to _SF.

  12. kinger_OIL says:

    I thought it was FSN?

    NSF is better: bankrupt like the last regime who totally mishandled all 3 players

  13. BlueNoteNorth says:

    Cue Verdad

  14. Woodguy says:

    I’m going to beat this drum until there is no skin left.

    Its Ference and its not close.

    Oiler gong show last year was 50%CF when he wasn’t on the ice and 45% when he was on.

    The went from being even in possession (including good teams) to giving up a 10% advantage (45/55) due to the presence of one player.

    The Oilers’ playoff hopes may rely on keeping him off the ice.

    50%CF last year placed you 18th in the NHL

    45% placed you 28th.

    I am hopeful that Chia (who didn’t resign him) and McLellen see it the same way.

    Ignore the verbal, the proof is in the TOI.

    We wait.

  15. rickithebear says:

    //It’s not the biggest problem on the team and I do think it’s a bit unfair to include Schultz in with Andrew Ference and Nikita Nikitin.//

    last 4 years:
    Nikitin
    Edm 1st comp 15.80 Edm best 1st comp in last 6 years
    CBJ 2nd comp 12.46 Leagues 7th best 2nd comp in last 5 years

    Ference
    BOS 2nd 111-12 14.96 last time he was better than average.
    Bos 3rd 12-13 15.67
    EDM 1st 13-14 17.93
    EDM 2nd 14-15 16.33

    Schultz
    EDM 3rd first 2 years 18.80
    EDm 3rd 14-15 16.78

    You do realize Defencemens fundamental role is defend the net.

    Forwards fundamental role is put the puck in the net.

    A lot of people on here think offence is the defencman’s primary role.
    the game is too fast and structure to have wandering D.

    8 years of shitty HSCA D play has clouded the idea of a D on this board!

    I do think it’s a bit unfair to include Nikitin in with Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz.

  16. RexLibris says:

    Okay, am I the only one who read the title as standing for “So Not Funny”?

  17. One-Timer says:

    kinger_OIL:
    I thought it was FSN?

    NSF is better: bankrupt like the last regime who totally mishandled all 3 players

    The F should be in the middle, kinda like CFP.

  18. jonrmcleod says:

    NSF = Not Safe For … the Oilers. Or not safe for Oilers fans’ mental health.

  19. One-Timer says:

    rickithebear,

    The nice thing about this data dump is that it doesn’t summarily contradict the corsi numbers provided by WG. Because I would say that a D’s ability to move the rubber out of his zone is pretty damn important.

    As for Niki, yeah let’s try the positive approach as LT says. If he can bring back some of his game, it plugs up a bit of the black hole, and basically increases assets at the deadline.

    Pardon the Malbec. Feelin’ pretty good about 15/16 right now though!

  20. RexLibris says:

    jonrmcleod:
    NSF = Not Safe For … the Oilers. Or not safe for Oilers fans’ mental health.

    Isn’t NSF the code that comes up on the debit machine when you have insufficient funds? Seems apropos.

  21. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear,

    A lot of people on here think offence is the defencman’s primary role.
    the game is too fast and structure to have wandering D.
    8 years of shitty HSCA D play has clouded the idea of a D on this board!
    I do think it’s a bit unfair to include Nikitin in with Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz.

    Dmen who cannot get the puck to the forwards in order to exit the zone cause more shot attempts against (including HDSC).

    Its all well and good to defend the net, but if they can’t start a play that exits the zone with possession they’re useless.

    Cue the Sutter quote:

    “The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone (say) they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play,” said Sutter.

    Truth.

    I agree with you on Nikitin btw.

  22. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy:
    rickithebear,

    A lot of people on here think offence is the defencman’s primary role.
    the game is too fast and structure to have wandering D.
    8 years of shitty HSCA D play has clouded the idea of a D on this board!
    I do think it’s a bit unfair to include Nikitin in with Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz.

    Dmen who cannot get the puck to the forwards in order to exit the zone cause more shot attempts against (including HDSC).

    Its all well and good to defend the net, but if they can’t start a play that exits the zone with possession they’re useless.

    Cue the Sutter quote:

    “The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone (say) they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play,” said Sutter.

    Truth.

    I agree with you on Nikitin btw.

    EVA??? wonder how those occur a D skating up the puck!
    or
    a good transition pass.

    NN:
    13-14 66gm 13 EVA #68 D tright there with Krug; Phanuef; Rusell; Bieksa; Boyle gardiner; jones; murray; Coburn.
    11-12 61gm 18 EVA #26 D right there with Weber; Petry; Coburn; Gardiner; Vlasic; Suter; Phanuef.

    I too believe in D who can generate Even assists by puck transition.
    But D first.
    A lot of teams pay for D PP pts with limited value.

    Usually less than 20 D with 20 EVA every year.

    This year injured and hobeld with terrible Eakins coaching. Nikitin was 6 EVA in 42gm. a 10-11 EVA season pace. right there with phanuef; Gardiner; Gryba; Seabrook; Petry; Vlasic; Brodin; OEL; Jones.

  23. Stelio Kontos (Formerly Zangetsu-Formerly Thinker) says:

    rickithebear,

    Glug Glug Glug

  24. Yeti says:

    godot10: Showcasing Nikitin, if he plays the way he played last season, is stupid.

    Maybe, but this does depend on the injury question: was he hobbled last year by a bad back? I fear that he probably wasn’t all that hampered, which means you are correct. But if he was, there may be more potential than last year indicated.

  25. Yeti says:

    RexLibris: Okay, am I the only one who read the title as standing for “So Not Funny”?

    I read it as Saturday Night Fever.

  26. season not played says:

    I want to get a look at Schultz with real NHL coaching for a season before I write him off.

  27. Johnny says:

    As much as I would like to say it’s not the coaching (6 coaches in the last 7 years or whatever), it actually WAS the coaching with Eakins. The man totally destroyed individuals and the team in his year and a half.

    The coaching is a big X factor this year….we will see how big of a multiplier that X is with regard to wins.

  28. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy:
    I’m going to beat this drum until there is no skin left.

    Its Ference and its not close.

    Oiler gong show last year was 50%CF when he wasn’t on the ice and 45% when he was on.

    The went from being even in possession (including good teams) to giving up a 10% advantage (45/55) due to the presence of one player.

    The Oilers’ playoff hopes may rely on keeping him off the ice.

    50%CF last year placed you 18th in the NHL

    45% placed you 28th.

    I am hopeful that Chia (who didn’t resign him) and McLellen see it the same way.

    Ignore the verbal, the proof is in the TOI.

    We wait.

    Keep it up. I can’t read it enough cause it’s so frickin true.
    But with McJesus moving in I seriously doubt anything happens.

  29. verdad2.0 says:

    One can only repeat how blundering it was to resign Schultz at all, and to not acquire Franson in his stead.

    Not buying out Ference and Schultz made no sense either.

    There is no logic is believing that Nikitin is something to showcase. If he had any value to anyone else he would have already been traded.

    The pity with Schultz was that he was taken to an arbitration process instead of just releasing him. No way he deserves what he is being paid. One would wonder why the Oilers didn’t resent paying him a salary far above what the open market would ever have offered him.

    Even if these players can’t be move by October 1, none should pay this year. Let Nurse and Reinhart learn what they need to. The pressure of an inadequate defense might finally motivate Chiarelli to part with some of his over-rated forward assets.

    Yes, SNF is the black hole of the Oilers, begging the question why MacTavish and Howson are still part of the management team.
    But Chiarelli doesn’t act soon on acquiring a real defenseman , then we expect another year where by November 1st the season is over.

    Start taking bets on whether the Oilers go zero for four in their first four games. If they do, then we will know nothing is different, MacDavid notwithstanding.

    Until the defense is fixed, everything is futility.

    Franson beckons.

    OEL beckons if the Oilers have the nerve.

  30. G Money says:

    verdad2.0,

    Yes! All it takes is nerve, not a willing trade partner! FORCE THE ISSUE!

  31. G Money says:

    rickithebear,

    A variety of fancy stats tell us that Nikitin might have been better than the eye suggested last year (the eyes desperately wanted to launch themselves out of our collective heads and set themselves on fire).

    That leaves aside the possibility of being hobbled by injury.

    So it isn’t unreasonable to think we *may* get a reasonable third pairing defenseman out of Nikitin next year.

    May.

    There is no one stat in the world that gives any measure of certainty around the value of a forward. If you take a healthy sample size for boxcars and Vollmans together, I believe you can get a decent picture of a forward.

    Numerical measures of defensemen are much harder to find. The correlation (objective or subjective) between the commonly used measures and other measures of the ‘goodness’ of defensemen is mediocre to weak.

    Taking ONE measure, as you’ve done, and declaring it to be the end-all-be-all measure for defensemen and therefore definitive proof of how excellent Nikitin is – to be honest, is utterly ridiculous.

    It is akin to a doctor measuring your blood pressure – and ignoring everything else, including your haggard appearance – and declaring that because your BP is OK, you are therefore perfectly healthy.

    Your summary of HSCA/60 for D is valuable and interesting, and I believe it does add some value and insight to the assessment process.

    But using it as the sole measure of value is a pretty gross misuse of stats Ricki.

    It leads to bad conclusions and even a black eye for the entire field of work.

  32. oilswell says:

    G Money: Numerical measures of defensemen are much harder to find. The correlation (objective or subjective) between the commonly used measures and other measures of the ‘goodness’ of defensemen is mediocre to weak.

    In my estimation the key error by Mr. THEBEAR is in assuming that a defenceman’s primary purpose is to defend the net. I think, rather, that it is to work with the other players on the ice in order to outscore the opposition. I understand that it seems easier to try to bludgeon assessment questions into individual performance measures, and even unidimensional ones to boot! But these are convenient fictions, and I would suggest any analyst would benefit by remembering the fact.

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